JibSheet April 2024

Published Mon 08 Apr 2024

Jibsheet April 2024

With just a few more Sundays to go, I think we can all be delighted with the season we are just about to complete. The weather gods have been kind, and we’ve had great participation, cruising and racing throughout. Our junior sailors are building their skills and representing Avalon in regattas - next year’s fleet will be even stronger. We’ve hosted the classics with BYRA and seen good numbers in our yacht races. Our cruisers have enjoyed superb conditions, and we’ve hosted a number of events and weddings, earning valuable funds that are needed for our building works.

It’s also been fantastic to see so many members enjoy the club on a casual basis with friends and family enjoying the facilities, there was a great vibe with a perfect sunset at last night's end of season BBQ. Just remember that includes use of the kitchen, hall, veranda, deck, BBQ, tables, chairs etc for members’ families and friends in small (less than 20) groups, ensuring there is no disruption to other members or neighbours. For example on non-sailing day afternoons having a swim, using the BBQ, kitchen and bathrooms. Access and use of club equipment, including Club owned sailing boats and support craft is not permitted for safety and maintenance reasons.

If you’re unsure what is and isn’t OK check the guidance on our website:

The Bookocinno events have been great for the club, not only from a financial point of view, but also as an opportunity for us to support the local community and gain some valuable exposure. It was a full house for Kathy Lette with the event being a highlight this season. Here’s her Instagram post from the club:


Winter Project - Replacing the Downstairs Floor

The priority project for this winter is replacing the downstairs floor which is becoming a safety hazard. The plan is to replace the flooring one bay at a time starting from the Northern end in May. Whilst we will try to minimize the disruption to members, each bay will need to be largely cleared so that the work can be done, which will require boats and equipment to be temporarily stored elsewhere at the club, or removed. We will provide notice prior to starting each bay so that members are aware and can prepare. 

As always the club relies on donations and member’s labour to complete these projects. Donations are tax deductible via the Australian Sports Foundation website here:

If you are able to help with the work or materials, please contact Ian Craig who is leading the project on 0419 625298

2024 NSW O’pen Skiff (BIC) Championship BYRA

BYRA proudly hosted the 2024 Open skiff (previously known as the BIC) state titles over the weekend of 16th and 17th March 2024 in Pittwater with Avalon contributing the second largest team only one boat less than the ever strong Manly yacht club. We had seven sailors, with Oli Leech and Marcus Cockle sailing in the gold fleet and Kaleb Cullus, Charlie Quinn, Seb Cockle, McKenzie Solomon and Max Eilbeck fighting it out in silver.

Our crew met for an early start at Avalon to load up Red Rib and set the tow lines connecting our skiffs to Mark Solomon’s work boat. Seeing the seven skiffs trailing along one following the other on the half hour journey across the pond to BYRA was quite a sight. Many commented that it was akin to a mother duck and her ducklings. The kids were all buzzing with excitement with high hopes for some good results despite the less than favourable wind forecast.

Saturday’s dying southerly with flukey conditions and gusts not more than 13 knots meant that competitors had to adjust their technique for the light air sailing. Our lightest sailors revelled in these conditions with Charlie Quinn proving the standout in the silver fleet with top three finishes in each race. 

One of the best aspects to this class is that every regatta includes an “adventure race” component on each day. A novel idea where the organisers match two up on each boat, pairing the competitors from most experienced to the least. The adventure races consist of a bunch of challenges that often end with exciting conclusions. Some would say that winning an adventure race is more important than the actual trophies, it’s certainly a fantastic way to mix the kids together to meet new friends and learn new skills. 

Day 2 started wet and very calm. It was commented at the time that the wind didn’t blow it sucked! After waiting all morning for a slight northerly to arrive we managed to only complete one race in some very slow and ordinary conditions. Alas “that’s sailing!”

The results demonstrate that Avalon’s sailors are really starting to pull their weight in this fantastic class of boat. Our strongest sailor, who has moved through the ranks at a rate of knots, was formally recognised for his efforts and obvious talents by winning the male Rising Star award for 2024, congratulations Oliver Leech! Special mention should be made to Seb Cockle who is our youngest sailor (and full disclosure, my son) for his efforts in progressing from a very tentative green group sailor, suffering injuries at the national championships held in Noosa, and yet persevering and progressing into silver group and collecting a few trophies on the run. 

The highest accolades should be presented to Charlie Quinn who fought his way through the season against some pretty tough odds. He consistently missed out on placings time and again only to pull his skills and mental toughness together peaking at just the right time to win the state championship for NSW in silver group. Congratulations Charlie!

Click here for the results

Tony Cockle, Club Captain

SailGP Adopt a Club - Feb 23rd Tour 

Around 25 members enjoyed a fantastic tour of the French SailGP team base. We managed to get very close up to these amazing F50s and watch the wings being craned into place prior to the boats being launched. Jason Saunders (Kiwi flight controller in the French team) gave us a detailed technical talk and answered many questions. Overall a great experience for all, and one I hope we can participate in again.

Pittwater Classic Yacht & Dinghy Regatta - 2nd & 3rd March

This was the first time that ASC and BYRA combined to stage a Classic Yacht and Dinghy regatta. ASC hosted the yachts and BYRA the dinghies. While the numbers of entrants of both classes were disappointing, the actual event was successful. There were 8 Scow Moths, 5 Coutas and 2 other classic yachts.

ASC member, and filmmaker, Bruce Walters put together this fabulous video of the event:

If we are to attempt this kind of joint Class regatta again – and I think we should - we need to find a date that doesn’t clash with events such as the Paynesville Classic Boat Rally and The Sydney Harbour Regatta. Also, we need to find out what happened to the enthusiasm of the Classic timber boats on Pittwater. Initially I had lots of promises to enter a mixed yacht division, but that fell to just two; thanks to Rendezvous and Maykhala.

WPYC statistics show that 26 wooden boats entered the series last year with only 16 this year, and much smaller numbers actually participating in the races. We need to understand what’s going amiss.

Five Coutas contested the Pittwater Trophy Regatta. Makama and Coutatar, with skipper Andrew McMillan flying in from Perth, came up from the harbour to join Cariad, Kathleen Mary and Sylvia. Tenacity unfortunately didn’t make the start due to rig issues. 

The regatta consisted of 3 windward / leeward races on the Saturday with a short passage race on the Sunday. The windward / leewards were very closely fought with a number of lead changes in a solid 15+ knot southerly. It was very close between Kathleen Mary and Makama and if it hadn't been for a port starboard incident, KM would have been the winner take all. 

On the Sunday, KM made the best of a very light air start and stayed ahead of a spread out fleet. Some of us tried too hard and found a nice ‘resting spot’ at Stokes. Despite KM’s win on the day, the overall winner of the regatta on handicap and scratch was Makama. Congratulations to Freddie Blencke, Adrian Broadbent and crew.

I think it's fair to say that the short windward / leewards are a real test of boat and crew with the adrenaline pumping for the full 40 minutes of each race. This is the best kind of racing for a one design class. If we could just increase our Etchells and Couta fleets to five a piece, we could have a great ASC Regatta with the two one design classes racing in close quarters on short windward leeward courses.

So speaking of the Couta fleet, we are now back to 4 active Coutas, having lost Wattle back to Sorrento, but gained Tenacity thanks Andrew Powell and Peter Hemery having persuaded Ian Renwood to let them bring her back to Pittwater. But 4 boats isn’t quite a ‘fleet’!

ASC Couta owners wish to add a 5th boat to make it a ‘fleet’. We think the best way of making this happen is to set up a syndicate to purchase and campaign the boat. A multiple owner boat can be entered in multiple events so that all owners can get their fair share of use. Events can include ASC Retriever, Avalon and Winter series, WPYC Wednesday twilights and Winter series, RPAYC Wednesday Arvo series, and the Two Islands series. The boat can still be used for pleasure outings even just under motor to the nearest anchorage for a picnic. There are plenty of events for owners to get their money's worth.

There are two syndicate owned and run Coutas on Sydney Harbour located at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club. Makama and Eloise are owned by something like 20 member syndicates each and are working well. Given a typical crew is 6 people, it does offer all members plenty of opportunity to sail, and potentially creating 3 or 4 “teams”. 

A quality and well maintained Couta can be purchased for about $45K with annual running costs around $8k. A few of the existing Couta owners would be prepared to help with the purchase and management of the boat, and also in training and coaching of the new owners. If we find 20 buyers to join a syndicate that would be around $1,000 - $2,000 each for the purchase and $400 a year for registration, insurance, mooring and maintenance. The final amount would depend on possible sponsorship that is being investigated. A Syndicate Agreement, setting out the conditions, is being prepared for potential members.

This is a great opportunity for inexperienced members to be guided by more experienced members in classic boat sailing, and get more involved in club activities. It’s a fantastic way to get into sailing at a minimal cost.

Oh, and do I have a boat in mind? Yes! Check out Swan Bay, a 2000 build COUTA BOAT 

Watch this video of our recent classic boat regatta, and you'll see what a joy these boats are to sail:

I am aware there are plenty of unanswered questions, but if interested please get in touch with me.

Larry Eastwood

Cruising Report

We had a lovely February Cruise to Akuna Bay’s D'albora Marina. 3 boats took part in the event: Belami, Kate Kelly and Goldfinger. Belami was in the lead in the Challenger Head Race when she broke a shackle on the backstay near Careel Bay and had to withdraw from the race; her rigging was repaired 3 nm later whilst using the iron sail and her newly installed autopilot. Goldfinger went on to take line honours. Kate Kelly missed the start by about an hour and arrived just in time for the BBQ at D’Albora Marina on board Goldfinger. We had a lovely evening on board at the marina, followed by brunch at the local restaurant on Sunday.

Upcoming cruising events for the remainder of the season:

25/4/24 to 28/4/24- Dangar Island and Jerusalem Bay

1/6/24 to 3/6/24 - Bobbin Head Cruise

22/06/24 to 23/06/24 - Progressive Dinner, The Basin

27/07/24 to 28/07/24 – Fire and Soup Night

17/08/24 to 18/08/24 – Alternate Fire and Soup Night

Thursdays School Term - Meredith’s Art Classes

Davdi Baker - Cruising

Art Classes - Thursdays

Meredith is back with her regular art classes on Thursdays with Adults from 10am - 1pm, and children from 3:30pm - 6pm. Please be mindful of the classes and be sure not to disrupt them in the hall.

Would you like to get more involved ?

We are very fortunate to have so many enthusiastic and dedicated members involved at the club. For many, myself included, having the opportunity to be directly involved when my kids were sailing was an absolute highlight of their childhood. Those Sundays are some of my most treasured memories. Taking that further and getting involved in the organisation and running of the club has also been very rewarding. 

Many family volunteer clubs like ours are struggling to retain members and keep afloat. We are doing well on membership numbers, participation and engagement thanks to a proven sailing program and operational rhythm that has evolved over time into a steady and reliable way of running the club. Part of that success is ensuring that the leadership is refreshed, and that members can volunteer knowing that they can stand down from roles, once they have “paid their dues” with a couple or few years of “service”.

We currently have very experienced people on the committee, some are very much due to stand down, and this provides opportunity for others to step in. If you are passionate about the club, and would like to get involved in a small or big way, influence the decisions and the future directions of the club, then please let me know. You can call me (Ralf Moller) on 0431 734147 to discuss.

Tony & Matt, with the help of Kingsley and others, have done a stellar job of rebuilding the centreboard division. Next year will be the first in some time that we will have a sizeable gold fleet representing Avalon in state and national regattas whilst our learn to sail program will no doubt continue to build. This increased participation will require a larger team to manage the centreboard division, so please contact Tony on 0423 832594 or Matt on 0421 274826 if you’re interested or have some ideas.

Vale Felicity Davis- Rafferty

Vibrant, energetic, engaged.


“Flick”, as she was known by most, was a loving mother, grandmother, wife and friend. Flick truly embraced the ethos of ‘living life to its fullest’. Among her many passions, Flick was an educator who worked in the tertiary education sector for many years, as well as a dedicated Labor supporter. Flick, together with her husband Greg, dedicated many hours to campaigning, scrutineering and advocating for causes such as the recent ‘yes’ campaign. Flick was always seeking a way to make a difference, to make things better.  

Flick was willing to give anything a go. A keen sports woman, she loved snow skiing and playing netball with her local group of friends. However most of you will know Flick from her recently acquired love of sailing – initially as crew on ‘Just Magic II’. So well trained, within a few years, Flick had graduated to be the proud owner of the aptly named ‘Hot Chilli’, winning the Quartet Bowl in 2021. Hot Chilli has been a regular feature of the ASC racing fleet over the last few years. As often as they could, Flick and Greg were on the water in Pittwater, racing with ASC or Woody Point and generally having a ball.

As many will know, last year Hot Chilli embarked on a voyage to the Whitsundays to take part in the Airlie Beach race week and Hamilton Island Race Week 2023. As Flick’s first offshore voyage, she experienced sustained ‘strong’ conditions, including frequent whale encounters. Flick never missed a beat, always taking her fair share of watches, including solo shifts at night – in fact, to suggest anything otherwise would have been met with stern rebuff. Hot Chilli’s success in those regattas has previously been detailed in an earlier Jibsheet, however it truly was a trip of a lifetime for all involved.

Flick made a big impact wherever she went. Flick believed in giving back, and had most recently joined the ASC committee and was looking forward to working with the ASC community. Her strength, vigour and general love of life will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her. A life taken too soon. Vale Flick  

Jodi and Chad

Just Magic II


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